I have made some kind of corn and tomato pasta salad for years based on a recipe that won me $400 in Better Homes & Gardens monthly recipe contest. You can find the original recipe, published in the July 1997 issue here:
This weekend as I was making the salad for our family Easter gathering, I used white balsamic vinegar and wasn’t thrilled with the flavor of the dressing. Then I got the idea to flavor and thicken the dressing with corn. Voila! It really added to the flavor and texture of the dressing. I loved the result and decided to update the recipe and post it. I hope you enjoy it!
2 cups penne shaped pasta (regular or gluten free)
2 fresh ears of corn, cut off the cob or 1 cup frozen corn (reserve 2 tablespoons of corn for the dressing)
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chicken broth or water
1-2 whole cloves garlic, peeled and end trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon honey (or other sweetener if making vegan version)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
Cook and drain pasta and corn according to package directions. If using fresh corn that has been cut from the cob, place in a microwave safe dish, add a couple of teaspoons of water, cover and heat on medium high (70%) for 3-4 minutes. When cool enough to handle, reserve 2 tablespoons corn for the dressing and combine the rest with the pasta in a medium serving bowl.
Place the reserved 2 tablespoons of corn, vinegar, chicken broth/water, garlic, salt, cayenne and black pepper, celery seed and honey in the blender. Blend on high speed until pureed. Drizzle in the olive oil slowly. Add the parmesan cheese and basil and blend a little more until well combined.
Toss the dressing with the combined corn and pasta, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Just before serving, mix in 1 cup grape tomato halves. To serve, line a plate with salad greens and top with the corn and tomato pasta salad. Garnish with fresh basil and grated parmesan, if desired. Makes 6-8 side servings. Mix in grilled or cooked meat like chicken, beef or shrimp (or cooked beans like chickpeas, lima beans or cannellini beans) and it becomes a meal, makes 4-6 meal servings.